Monday, 1 April 2013

gentrification or trade-fair, fair-trade

I had the opportunity to pour over, in depth a few city blocks in Leipzig. I would not exactly call it a photo-essay since I didn’t
attempt any interviews to try to further limn the character of the area but I did notice a few fellow casual documentarians also snapping pictures, but the exploration was book-ended between two examples of a sort of decay and renewal with a lot of graffiti in between, and I felt that I did not have the chance beforehand to properly capture some of the beauty I found around me in this place.

I wondered to an abandoned factory yard, expansive along the banks of the river whose influence was far from a typical brownfield, historic and dignified with decoration and as likely to abut a block of well-kept dwellings and parks as another spot of neglect.

 These modern ruins are important reminders, I think, of transformation—and not the same as the Schadenfreude, the leering and the ogling that places, truly abandoned communities like Detroit, are subject to.
Leipzig is yet a centre of trade and industry but with some important changes, which repurposing and reinvention that is sometimes too revealing.  It is sort of like an urban Dream-Time.

Later, on one of the fly-a-ways that crosses the outskirts of the city, we passed over the massive, intact yet redundant, locomotive switch yard and repair station. I want to have the chance to descend down to that stratum as well one of these days.
My wanderings eventually took me to another former industrial site, a textile mill, ein Spinnerei, restored faithfully to the original shell but as luxury apartments.

Many other similar venues have been created in the past few years, and I just hope that people are not convinced that wreck and ruin is only held at bay by inviting in the so-called angel investors and at the expense of character and expression.

I wonder how a neighbourhood, told that it is blighted, responds to such accusations and perhaps unwelcome assistance.